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Questions on small bodies.....


peiplayer

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I’ve been interested in a Nick Lucas for some time and I thought that having the deep body would make the sound as big as a larger guitar. In a recent thread Pickax mentioned the LG-00 Blues King has the same size body as a NL. If so, just wondering….what’s the main difference between these two soundwise, and which is more versatile? Are they in fact quite loud? Are they good strummers? Being out on the east coast of Canada I never get to see much less play these things.

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I have vintage examples of each. The body shape is the same, but the Nick Lucas is deeper. Here are a 1930 L-1 (same depth as an L-00) on the left and a 1929 Nick Lucas on the right:

 

2381645070033810361S600x600Q85.jpg

 

The extra depth gives the Nick Lucas a greater bass response.

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Its the darndest thing. I bought one because Dylan played one. Mine sounds NOTHING like his! NOTHING. Strangely, of all my guitars my Nick Lucas sounds the MOST like Bob's '46 J-50. It sounds more like his 46' J-50 than my 46 J-45 sounds like his J-50. It is as dry and woody as they come. (And it plays a tone clone Song to Woody to boot). The notes are round and full-bodied, just a hint of smoke. Hollow sounding but not shrill. I have nothing else like it.

 

It is not particularly loud or versatile. I would not grab it to perform in a large room or in a group. For recording and quiet performance it is unmatched. Mine is maple/sitka and is the "Elite" model.

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My Nick Lucas depth L-00 Blues King (not to be confused with a Nick Lucas =; ) does have a very nice Bass end. I primarily play Guitars at home for my own enjoyment so I couldn't really comment as to how this has worked in other settings. It really shines while finger picked but it also does a nice job while strummed. It's much louder that the Martin 000-15S I used to own. It has a lot of power for a small body. It has a very comfortable neck and is very comfortable to hold in the lap. Never played a Nick Lucas or the reissues. I would guess mine has similar bracing

 

My L-00 was made in 96 but the one's made today have a much narrower depth. Something I've learned in the short time I've been at this site is that Gibson didn't exactly write the book on consistency. Changing the depth of the L-00 I have to what they are making today, is in my view, a fairly significant change.

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Keep in mind the Nick Lucas old and new come in different woods, with 12 and 14 fret necks. The standard issue Nick Lucas today is a 14 fret guitar with maple back and sides with a 24.75 scale length. The deep bodied L00 and regular depth L00 are mahogany bodies with a longer scale.

 

There are also contemporary Nick Lucas that are reissues of the guitar John is playing, a 12 fret mahogany body. They have also produced rosewood bodied guitars with long and short scale. Both of these guitars are scarce.

 

These various combinations should not sound the same, certainly not with different body woods.

 

I have only played a couple of the standard 14 fret maple bodies. I own two of the original 12 fret mahogany guitars.

 

It will be very difficult to find an original, equally difficult to find the contemporary 12 fret guitars, then trying to compare them with a deep body L00. It can be confusing.

 

Most of the Nick Lucas you see today are going to be the standard 14 fret short scale maple bodied gutiars.

 

The vintage Nick Lucas are the best Gibson guitars that I own. They have more than deeper bass they have a deeper over all sound, more the sound of a bigger guitar with the size of a small guitar. To me the perfect combination for flat picking and finger picking.

 

I have wanted to play a deep bodied L00 and a new 12 fret Nick Lucas, but they aren't easy to find either.

 

Terry

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The vintage Nicks and the new Nicks have not so much in common, I'm afraid---except in isolated cases. The newer L-00s are---mostly--- just awful, compared to the guitars they are supposed to be reissues of. This opinion would not include the Legends, which are impressive.

 

I have an Elite Nick Lucas resissue----it sounds more like an old Century than any original Nick I've ever played. Which is fine with me. It's very lightweight, dry, woody, punchy and loud....but it has a bit of breath and nuance to the tone as well. I can't tell you how many of the Nick reissues I've tried over the years, which were just junk, before I happened upon this one...but it was a lot.

 

Incidentally, I also have a Northwood 00 12 fret slothead, maple/cedar, which to my ear, is even more reminiscent of the best old maple Gibson's I've either owned or played. It's quite the tone monster----and was a huge surprise to me, as I got it purely on recommendations, and hearing it on an audio recording. I never expected the "Gibson-ness" it has, but it was a pleasant surprise.

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Ive owned a deep body L00bk and played a reissue nick. Yes, some more bass and resonance with the extra depth. But not particularly good for strumming. Too much treble. A songwriter friend who hits hard played it at a jam-- brittle and piercing.

 

ps note that Dylans Nick (circa Dont Look Back and Live 1966) was a 13 fret rw version, which give him an extra dollup of bass and upper mids. The std Gibson NLS reissue is a 14 fret maple job. Not so deep. Best for fingerstyle ala Roy Bookbindder.

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I just remembered that I've got a very rough MP3 of my Nick Lucas. This is straight into a Zoom H2' date=' no effects but a bit of noise reduction via Audacity.

 

Vintage Nick Lucas Sound Clip

 

such a sweet sounding guitar. the zoom h2 seems to do the trick as well.

are any of these styles of guitars good for strumming or are they primarily finger-pickers?

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"are any of these styles of guitars good for strumming or are they primarily finger-pickers?" per my prev post I wouldnt say so, unless you got one in rosewood. His Bob-ness is the obv. touchstone

 

Love minus zero (?) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSMBy7hqEPw&feature=related

visions of johanna: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i6NOfD48Gk

 

vs maple nick

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I concur. My maple Nick is not a strummer. It sounds muddy and weak. It excels when flat picked or finger picked. Robust and warm.

 

I tried a Ren built 100% KOA Nick Lucas last year. 12 fret. That was an unbelievable guitar. The most mellow instrument I have ever played. Clouds and marshmallows. They were asking 10K!! It is on my lottery list.

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I think that Nicks are great strummers and just great, all-round guitars.

 

Jkinnama, thanks for sharing those clips! (Is that you playing the maple?). I've played but one vintage, maple Nick. Years ago, I opened for Roy Bookbinder and Paul Geremia. After the show, we swapped guitars and jammed for a bit. Roy's maple Nick was astoundingly good.

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John, I believe they are talking about the new model Maple Nick Lucas. The old ones are great because they can do anything from old to new, strumming, finger picking, chording, flat picking.

 

My time with the new maple Nick Lucas is limited, but I found them as described above. I bid on a NOS donated to a charity auction about 5 years ago. It sold for $900. I played it before the sale, it just wasn't anything special in tone or looks, just wasn't worth bidding anymore.

 

I think these limited 12 fret mahogany Nick Lucas built a couple of years back and pictured in one of these threads may have some of the vintage tone.,but finding one is like finding a vintage one.

 

Terry

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I love my 2004 L-00 Blues King. Mine has long scale, hog body, shallow body depth. The depth is nice, makes for great playability. It has the same depth as my Martin 000.

 

Fat trebles, punchy midrange, nice bass. The guitar is very light and resonant. I wouldn't say it sounds like a 70 year old L-00, but it does sound great.

 

I use a thumbpiuck and nails for finger picking. I do use fingerpicks sometime. The thing is rediculously loud with thumb and fingerpicks. Plenty loud with nails.

 

In addition to blues & rags I find it fairly versitile. Certainly folky stuff, but even classical. It does not sound like a classical guitar mind you, but the melody notes are very articulate due to the punchy mid-range and great trebles. Mine flat picks nicely for solo or small groups. It strums nice as well. I like broken in strings and a heavy flat pick; that seems to mellow out the trebles for struming and picking.

 

This is my favorite guitar; great Gibson tone!

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Thanks for your replies, most informative. Maybe if I visit Toronto or Ottawa, Montreal as I do from time to time, I might be able to contact a member that has either one. I'd love to get to play one. Like maninblack I became interested in it (the NL) because of Dylan, but I happened to see Pickax mention his LG-00 and it got me curious. I'd like a small body guitar with a big body sound, lots of bass.

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If you want a small bodied guitar with a big sound, look around for a good Martin 00-18V....they are resonant, balanced, and lively, and sound much larger than their body size would suggest. And either new or used, they're a real good value.

 

My above comments were indeed about the bulk of the modern Nick and L-00 reissues by Gibson that I've come across. You really have to look around for a good one----the good ones are out there, but you can't take it as a given that just because a guitar has a pleasing visual vibe, that it will sound even remotely like a classic Gibson.

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John' date=' I believe they are talking about the new model Maple Nick Lucas. The old ones are great because they can do anything from old to new, strumming, finger picking, chording, flat picking.[/quote']

 

Oops, Terry. I got a bit too excited about the vintage topic coming alive on this forum! (Let's try to to keep the conversation going).

 

I've only played a few modern Nicks, all 14 frets and most maple. I wasn't too fond of any of the maple guitars. I did play a new, early '90s koa Nick many years ago at Rudy's in NYC that I wish that I had bought.

 

I'd love to try one of the modern mahogany 12-fretters. I've heard good things about them.

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John, Did you get a rosewood SJ?

 

Umanov had one of the prototype 12 fret Nick Lucas about a year ago. It was one for the export market, old style sunburst, no pickguard. He had it for $1900 for some time. Looked like new. I didn't buy it, wish I would have. I believe I spoke to buyer through this forum.

 

I happened on another at a music store in St. Louis right around Christmas. It was a 12 fret with rosewood body a few years old, belonged to a Gibson collector in the area. It was sold by the time I heard about it, they didn't have any pictures. There has been one like that on ebay a couple of times. Looked very, very nice.

 

Those 12 frets they have made the last few years are as hard to find as a vintage model.

 

Terry

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